I never had the pleasure of meeting Tom "Killer" Kowalski. By most accounts he was a helluva journalist and an even better man. His sudden passing at the age of 51 shocked and saddened many who had come to know him in one way or the other over his illustrious career.
Yet, with all due respect, something needs to be cleared up. In the last several days, I've heard many people say he could cover the Lions so well because he played the game for them once upon a time.
Tom started his sports writing career barely out of high school at the Oakland Press, moved on to other pastures, and eventually got a radio and TV gig, where many of you saw him on the pre-game shows of Lions' games. He was really good at all of that stuff and highly respected on many levels. It's very rare for a professional sports franchise to honor a media person, but the Lions have seen fit to do so. That should tell you something about how highly Kowalski was thought of.
But let's get the record straight and maybe even settle a few bets. Tom was a multi-talented guy, but no, he was never an offensive lineman for the Lions, or any other NFL team. While he was certainly well-versed in pro football over his years of experience covering it, and may he RIP, he never played the game. Nor was he ever a "professional" wrestler. That was another guy, a generation before Tom, and only a "stage" name anyway.
Let's celebrate Tom's life for what it was, not what it wasn't.